Thursday, December 31, 2009

Almost the New Year

The portrait swap at Karin Jurick's "Different Strokes from Different Folks" blog is almost done.  Out of 180 portraits there are still about 20 to be submitted. This is the final day of the challenge.  The portrait I did of Demetrios Vlachos was featured on my blog awhile back.  He painted me.  If you would like to see the reference photo and the finished portrait you will have to locate it on one of these two (addendum "4"!) 'You Tube' video feeds.  It may not be there yet.  I would wait a few days.  Karin has done all this work, AND she is busy doing HER art as well.  Thanks Karin!
                       Part One                                                  
                       Part Two
                       Part Three
                       Part Four
As Karin reminded us on her blog at the beginning of the challenge.."the gist (of this blog) is how you interpret, approach, see, transform the information given to you from a photograph. If you're skilled at painting faces, good for you - if you're unsure or apprehensive about painting faces - I believe you can, by approaching it this way ." 

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

A Portrait for Today and Yesterday

6" x 6"
oil paint on canvasboard
I have painted most of my immediate family and realized I needed to try this portrait from a photo again.  I had painted it another time, only to struggle with it and wipe it off a couple of times. I am in that mood where I want to revisit a challenge I had this past year - just to show myself it is sometimes about the day, my mood, and mainly it is about the drawing and the inspiration that comes from getting the drawing right.  Does that ever happen to you?

 Started yesterday.  Brought it in from the studio to evaluate it last night. I set it up right in sight of what I am doing and do a self critique for the rest of the night.  Upon returning to the studio today, first thing I did was turn the painting and the photo upside down.  It helped tremendously.  You stop seeing and worrying about the features and definitely see the shapes, contours and values.

This is my brother, Scott.  He had an animated smile on his face in the photo taken a few years back at a restaurant we visited - I took the animation down a notch.  When we are together we have so many good laughs.  He is one of the kindest and most thoughtful people I know. 

Monday, December 28, 2009

Watercolor Days

5" x 7"
watercolor on Arches paper
Doing little daily sketches/pieces in watercolor - nothing serious...just stretching the brain with the technique. Needed a little break and a change from oil and pastel.  But, hmmmm....that glass does not look round.

Hmm...will you approach the New Year with a full and perfectly round glass? :)
Time to make Art Goals, once again.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Where I Stand Sunday

We have had freezing temps, snow, ice, and blizzard winds.  As I literally tippy toed to and from the studio these last few days - hoping not to fall (grace as I am..I think I need a long handrail to help me move across the ice) - I noticed this anomaly that occurred probably back a few days ago when it was slushy...and then it froze solid.  It's BIG dog prints.  I remember that day.  He was happy to be out running around, until he leaped over a snowbank to flip with a thud onto his side once he hit the ice. 
And I worry about myself :)  We are at the tailend of the storm and we lost power for about 40 minutes around dark last night, just long enough to go out to get the generator from under the tarps and try to start it. 
That's something we will work on today, just in case.
Where I Stand Sunday is an ongoing photo essay examining the different places I spend my life standing. Too often we take for granted the everyday places we spend our lives walking on. If you'd like to join me by posting a photo on Sunday of places you've been on your blog/photo hosting site/website, leave a comment on this post telling me where I can find you/your photo and I'll add a link to my sidebar so others can find you.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

The Local Food Bank

Ok, I am posting twice in one day...but you just have to see what I just saw. All morning I have been working around the kitchen.  As I make a stew for Christmas Eve, I keep looking at the little Sparrows, Finches and occasional Cardinal who feed at the bird feeder outside the kitchen window. It's very cold and windy - birds really need help to keep that fat going for insulation.  Imagine my excitement when I glanced out again and saw the following.  We have three digital cameras.  An older Sony Cybershot 2.1 megapixels, a Nikon D50 with a Nikkor 18-55 mm lens and a Nikon D70 with a Nikkor 70-300 mm lens.  Hubster and I watched for a little as I snapped away...first with the Cybershot (it has the capability of a zoom):

(You can click on any of them to see more detail.)

Next, with the D50 (zoomed out as far as it would go)...

and finally with the telephoto lens and the D70.  Mind you this is through screening and ice and condensation on the outside of the window

Cool, huh?  I think he was waiting for someone to come and use the I didn't see him dip into the birdseed on the lower portion - at all! (These photos were Photo-shopped for 'levels' only. You can see the difference in cameras and lens, can't you?)

Musical Chairs for Dogs

WE recently moved the "dog" loveseat from out in front of the window, so the heat vent wouldn't be blocked. Bailey (big dog) being the creature of habit/special OCD dog that he is, has never adapted to the change.  He still wants to lay down on something at the window.  This chair is a little small for him. Chaco, likes the space for the same reason, plus this chair has the arms and it is cozy by the vent.  Big dog likes his space and at best will share it - toe to toe, or will use one of the wiener dogs as a pillow or vice versa.  This morning, they obviously caved into each other and this is the result. I would have liked to have seen Chaco make his brave jump to this spot but missed it.  The big dog was a little grumbly as I took this picture.  The sharing didn't last long and Chaco won out.  He is in the same chair, as he was yesterday with his sweater on.

Still a thick layer of ice over everything outside.  A little snow, but nothing like they were predicting, but wait the day isn't over yet  It's definitely a 'White Christmas' here on the Central Plains.  Hope your Christmas Eve is filled with the wonderment and magic of the season.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Fashion Show

OK folks – the time is here. Chaco’s sweater is finished and he has posed for the camera (well, sort of).
DSC_0388   DSC_0395


The pattern is from a site “Groovy Crochet”.  You can see the pattern here.  Now I have to crochet one for the other wiener dog, as his store bought sweater doesn’t fit or stay on very well.  At this pace, he may have a “Spring Sweater” :)DSC_0397 I used little wooden buttons.  He keeps trying to chew them, but in the meantime, I think it will serve it’s purpose. 
~Happy Holidays ~
Addendum:  Since my dogs love to chew on wood, one of the buttons has already been absconded and chewed.  Grrr, says the crocheter.  Living in the country has such drawbacks..I wish to go to my local fabric/sundry store to shop for the appropriate/sturdy/plastic buttons for these sweaters, but alas -

the best we have is Alco and nothing else for over 100 miles.  So today I will go through all the clothes we no longer wear too much to see if there are any buttons I can recycle. 


This is ICE on the north windows.  It reminds me of that dimpled glass that was used on doctor's offices or law office doors with large glass panes in the door, for privacy. 

Had to grab the big dog and ease him out the door this morning so he didn't go flying across it.  He didn't get it, but I at least slowed his 'morning frenzied assault' on the outdoors - as he does each morning.  I wouldn't want to have to BE anywhere this morning. 
Freezing rain right now, snow later. 

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

A Pet Portrait in Watercolor for Today

"Jak - 2"
5" x 7"
watercolor on Arches paper/German Shorthaired Pointer Mix

Impending bad weather and the holidays being here, I decided not to continue with oil paint right dries out if it sits in here in the studio after a few days. I am not into freezing it right now, so, watercolors came out today.  I like painting with them but I still find them a little tricky.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Where I Stand Sunday

When I first had exposure to computers was in the late 1980's. I was asked to facilitate an elementary school computer lab, as a para-professional.  I helped instruct kids (and teachers :-)) in the Terapin Turtle environment of Apple. The lab had the newest - Apple II E - I thought I had died and gone to heaven!
My home computer was a Commodore 64 and yes, my favorite game was (and perhaps still is) Galaga  (thanks for reminding me Jess).  We even had PONG!
Wild, when you think about how far we've come (baby).
I am still learning to take nothing for granted -
using a computer today can be full of fun as well as addicting
when it comes to connecting with others,
playing games, learning, or keeping up friends and family -  
with a world so full of information -
but I DO use it as a tool for my career. 
It's similar to the same use as a paintbrush, a canvas, a pencil -
not to mention an idea, an inspiration, an encouragment.
I believe the most important use for me has been
it has brought me closer to people whom I would not have known, otherwise -
my artist friends and acquaintances - who are near and dear to me.
They help inspire me, drive me, critique me, nudge me..
they are my rock.
I can't imagine a life without the ability to make contact
with those so dear to making me a better artist,  thinker, and imaginer -
not ignoring the chance and honor to share back in the same.
What an exchange! Thanks to those - YOU KNOW WHO YOU ARE!
Where I Stand Sunday is an ongoing photo essay examining the different places I spend my life standing. Too often we take for granted the everyday places we spend our lives walking on. If you'd like to join me by posting a photo on Sunday of places you've been on your blog/photo hosting site/website, leave a comment on this post telling me where I can find you/your photo and I'll add a link to my sidebar so others can find you.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

A Painting for Today

"Coney Island Beach Waders"
12" x 16"
oil on studio canvas
I haven't painted my granddaughter yet.  She is 28 months old and lives far, far away in Brooklyn, N.Y.  This is her and my son-in-law in the ocean during a summer visit to Coney Island.  Appropriate to look at - as well as paint, since we are destined to have more snow tonight.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

My Portrait for Different Strokes from Different Folks

For those of you who don't know, Karin Jurick has a bi-monthly challenge for artists through her blog named "Different Strokes from Different Folks" (update - however it has been taken over by another entity - Karin has passed away).  It's become quite a phenomenon amongst artists and viewers!  There are no awards, no selling on the blog, just lots of different renditions or interpretations of usually the same subject/photo, exception - the end of the year, now the second year - portrait challenge.  This year, 180 people are participating.  You send her a photo of you and she matches you up with another (secret) artist and sends you their photo, which you busily attempt to paint a likeness - or as she says, don't worry about the likeness - it's about the process.  Well, in my studio, likenesses are a goal.  I am very pleased with the way it turned out on my third attempt.  I really needed to do those others, to get to this point.  I know who this is - through my own little detective work...however,  I am not divulging the name or the person at this time. 

12" x 12" oil on gallery wrapped canvas

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Where I Stand Sunday

This week I stood here...therefore I stood a lot...


The portrait challenge is on - participants have until Dec. 31 to send their portraits in. Last year, I was quick on the trigger and sent mine in soon after I got the photo.  This time, I feel the need to do several sketches and practices of the face I am to paint. 

Stay tuned to see the one I submit.

Where I Stand Sunday is an ongoing photo essay examining the different places I spend my life standing. Too often we take for granted the everyday places we spend our lives walking on. If you'd like to join me by posting a photo on Sunday of places you've been on your blog/photo hosting site/website, leave a comment on this post telling me where I can find you/your photo and I'll add a link to my sidebar so others can find you.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Dog Sweater Progress

I have been a busy little elf with trying to get the doggie sweater's been fun! I still have to do the edging and button holes at the neck and the strap that goes beneath his big belly to attach it underneath.  It looks a little big down the back when I place it on him, but if you knew how he shivers when it's cold (and even when it's not) it will be added warmth for my red dachshund "Chaco".  Stay tuned for the fashion show in a few days.

Out to the studio today. I have done a prelim, warm-up - "get to know the facial structure/anatomy" charcoal sketch of my DSFDF portrait challenge, now I need to get going on a complete portrait - a handsome looking gentleman. 

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

It's All Relative...Snow Job

Relative to where you live...I have seen lots more snow than this in my life...but for here, this is alot.  The drifts were so tall and then you have barren ground beyond it.

This is to the south of the studio.

This is one part of the's a horseshoe.  But we need to barrel through that deep snowdrifts to make it out.  The batteries are giving us a problem on the snow removal equipment, so part two is coming of "snow moving".

This is one area that you can see how much snow fell, it's really hard to calculate with blowing and drifting snow and that's what is has been doing for over a day...glad the sun is out.  Doesn't help that it's below zero windchill, though.
 At this point, not a lot of art going on, just digging out and warming up and more digging out.
I know if you live in the Midwest, you have been dealing with it, so how much is at your place?
P.S. Yes, I AM working on Chaco's sweater - at night, in front of the telly.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

A Doggie Dilemma

It's a blizzard here today.  They are predicting 10 to 15 inches - we don't know if we are on the edge of this, or is really coming down.  Our Weimaraner, Bailey, has been very remiss in going outside these last few very cold days to do his "duty".  He runs out, only to run back to the porch and bang on the door.  You see, he has a titanium plate in his left front leg from breaking his leg earlier in life.  When the temps are down around zero, as you can imagine, his leg freezes up very quickly. 

The house seems nice and warm but our dogs all shiver or burrow under 'pluffies' we make for them on the furniture, bed or floor.

Got out the sweaters this no, that's right, someone doesn't have a sweater yet...they have a coat, but it's too small, as that dog (after neutering) got too large girthwise.  So, mom has to brave the snow, get out to the studio and dig out the sweater she attempted to make in a different year...I think I understand crocheting a little better than I did at the time I was trying to make it.  A good activity to do on a blustery, cold, snowy day.  It couldn't happen to a colder dog.  

Bailey has to be coaxed outside to do anything in this weather. I had my camera set on fast, and you can see I almost didn't catch him. He likes his sweater that Jess got for him...funny, but it rubs on his butt which he loves!

Hasty Herman, never settles down long enough to get a good photo, unless he's sleeping.  Here he is telling Chaco, that he wants up in the chair with him.  This sweater is now off the front legs and slipping down his body.  It always happens that way, it's like pulling up a babie's trousers all day. Ha!

And this is poor little Chaco, no sweater...not to worry - I am the meantime, there are lots of dog pluffies.  Will she get the sweater done before spring?  Let's hope so!

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Where I Stand Sunday

Standing in the heated studio on a snowy cold day...lots going on out here. 
That's all I can say for now.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Art Notecards

I've been very busy today.
Check out the new additions to my Etsy store
Just in time for Holiday Gift Giving!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Quick Break

Sorry I haven't been blogging. Been in Kansas City for a quick visit with mom (who is doing great!)and dad, brother and his family.  Back home today!

Friday, November 27, 2009

An Oil Painting for Today

"Give a Dog a Bone"
6" x 8"
oil painting on canvas board
This is a new friend's dog, Jak.  I had many photos to choose from, but this one says alot about Jak - and a lot about dogs and their bones. You can see in his face, how much he loves his bone and how proud he is of it.  Don't forget your furry friends this holiday season!  They love the smallest of gifts.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!!

As Thanksgiving arrives in the U.S., it reminds me of how close it is to the end of another year.  Hope you are like me and find many things to be thankful for today (and everyday). 


“Wild  Turkeys  on  the  Loose”

9” x 12”

oil on canvas board

Purchase info at my Etsy store.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

A Painting for Today

bengal  “Bengal Kitten”
6” x 6”
oil on canvas board
Hope you are at home in the U.S., relaxing with a little time off, getting ready for Turkey Day!
For purchase info - please visit my post on The Art of Rescue blog. A portion of the sale of this painting will be donated to the ASPCA.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Pastel Trio on Velour

bear1 bear2
bear3Three BIG bears in one frame form a divided triptych.  Each bear image measures 3 5/8” x 6” and are done in pastel on velour paper.  The bears at Cheyenne Mtn. Zoo were up to performing the day I had my camera ready as I rounded the hill approaching their enclosure. 
They were ready for me and not at all shy!
They are matted in black with a 8” X 16” frame with glass. 
bearsall“A Variation on Bears” 
8” x 16”
pastel on velour

Where I Stand Sunday

Just about every year, when the rains are heavy, our lower property gets flooded. We know what causes a lot of the problem.  We also have a ‘well’ located in the area that gets flooded…so to alleviate some of our concerns, we have been working on clearing the log and limb jams from the unkempt creek area as it winds it’s way through our wooded property.  With (can't believe I had the word "out" right here - glad I have a proofreader!) use of tractor, chain, chainsaw, and lugging big pieces out of the way – we are making headway against the elements.  Below are some of the way it is and the way it was…we still have many to unjam…but while it’s still not too cold and not snowing or raining we will chop away at it, little by little.
creekjam creekjam2
creekjam3 creekjam4
Interesting what you find in the creek.  Old tires, aluminum drums…there is more littering in this area today, as well as yesterday, there doesn’t seem to be an ordinance against it.  That big pointed log, is one that we drug out with the tractor.  Part of the problem is the trees growing right in the creek…they are slowly being taken down, also.  Painting?  I’m doing some. On my way to the studio right now!
Where I Stand Sunday is an ongoing photo essay examining the different places I spend my life standing. Too often we take for granted the everyday places we spend our lives walking on. If you'd like to join me by posting a photo on Sunday of places you've been on your blog/photo hosting site/website, leave a comment on this post telling me where I can find you/your photo and I'll add a link to my sidebar so others can find you.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Studying Van Gogh

On her blog "Following the Masters", Michelle Burnett creates a monthly internet challenge for artists.  This month's challenge is to copy or paint in a style like Vincent Van Gogh.  There are many romantic myths about Van Gogh, however, I mostly think about his ability to use dynamic color and his creation of an 'unforgettable style' in his paintings.  He was a true master of his craft.  Most of his success was gained due to the amount of sketching that he accomplished.  It reminds me of how important sketching is to improving and to 'seeing' what you want to communicate in your art.  To assist him at his easel, he kept a 'perspective frame' made from a small wooden frame with strings stretched across it - a visual grid.

The National Gallery of London found these nine colors in an 1889 Van Gogh landscape:
zinc white, cobalt blue, ultramarine, emerald green, viridian green, lead white, chrome yellow, chrome orange and vermilion.  I attempted to create my painting using these colors on my pallette. His stable of colors were even less numbered in his earlier years.  Actually, I am sure they didn't have a color named "chrome" anything in 1889 since chrome plating was first used on the Model A in the 1920's.  But I imagine the color they are looking at on his 1889 landscape, LOOKS like chrome yellow and chrome orange.  One can appreciate how far modern chemistry has improved color brilliance and viscosity in oil paint, although I imagine paint of those days were much more organic than now.

To me, one of his biggest contributions to the Impressionists Movement was his use of 'broken color'.  This is where he laid two (often complementary) colors next to one another - unblended.  The viewers eye would then, mix the colors - from afar.  Look closely at some of his tree paintings, and you will see the placement of these dabs of side by side complementary colors.  (OK, so my colorwheel was spinning and spinning on this one.)

Perhaps the saddest part about his life is he only sold one painting during his lifetime.  One of my favorite reads is "Lust for Life" (about Vincent) by Irving Stone.  A movie was made with Kirk Douglas which follows the book, but like many movies, the book is 'way' better.  Yes, he lead a tragic and painful life, but the beauty he must have seen to paint as he did, indicates there was something more to him than is written.

"PatRice's Chair"
6" x 6"
oil on wrapped canvas
In painting this one, I looked at two of his "chair" paintings, "VanGogh's Chair" and "Gauguin's Chair", taking the elements I liked in each and used my own chair for the prop.  After looking at the photo, there are some things I didn't do quite "VanGogh-ish" enough.  His outline of his subject was a thinner/darker line.  I think perhaps the small size of my canvas compromised that bold outline from happening.  This one was a fun challenge. I think I could paint like him - alot...because I like that outlining and the more limited palette.  His perspective is interesting to study, also.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Where I Stood...

Been to the Dane Hansen Museum in Logan, Kansas, probably four times. Passed by this interesting bit of history all 4, but this time, noticed it.  I have been nearby for several plantings of time capsules - especially working in schools. Makes me think of the capsule my daughter and I created back in the late 70's by adding items, photos, names to a jar and placing it in the wall of the unfinished basement we were beginning to finish.  I wonder if it's still there?  I wonder if anyone remodeled and found it?

I won't be around for the opening of this one. You neither, huh? Just thinking of how fast our world changes as we bound forward into the future it will, for sure, be a treat for someone.

A 4 day workshop with Kaye Franklin was just perfect - got a lot of painting done and watched some incredible demos!  I seem to take one from Kaye, each year for the last 3 (that doesn't count going to Guatemala with her).  The other big 'plus' to workshops - whatever genre the workshop pertains to,  you come away with more wondering and knowing than when you went into it.  I come away with some new thinking each time. Touching base with old friends and meeting new ones is also a plus, especially for where I am living. 

Stacy, who lives in Logan has spent the last several months, cleaning out, fixing/refurbishing the upstairs over the City Offices to make a gallery/studio. We visited it, it's almost ready for her to begin really enjoying the hard work she has put into it.

I love the high ceilings, and the new track lighting. She also has new heat, AC and fresh plumbing.  The other nice thing was seeing her storage closet.  I want one like that...but I will take what I see and maybe we can tweak mine - please.

Happy 17th Blogiversary to ME

 I would like to admit, it's still here, I'm still here and it's still worthy of my attention - although sporadic.   Here are a ...